Welcome to our trip report covering the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios! The primary purpose of trip reports is to supplement our existing content (in this case, heavily) to let you know how our strategies are actually working at a given time! This post introduces the trip report and covers booking the trip along with our late night arrival into Walt Disney World!
About This Trip Report
This trip report covers a ten-night visit to Walt Disney World for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the start of Extra Extra Magic Hours. As we’ve written elsewhere (links below), the period from August 29 through November 2 is going to be a complicated one at Walt Disney World, as three parks will have daily Extra Extra Magic Hours.
While we’ll have access to those bonus hours (they are a perk of staying at Disney hotels), we’ll also be taking some time to visit without Extra Extra Magic Hours in order to develop strategies for those of you visiting without those hours.
These posts cover the August 29 to November 2 highlights at Walt Disney World (new tabs):
After November 2, things will stabilize a bit at the resort, though holiday crowds promise to pose their usual challenges. And then December 5 will arrive and we’ll be faced with a new set of challenges—this time just at Hollywood Studios—posed by the opening of Rise of the Resistance.
We don’t know exactly how we’ll be breaking up this trip for the purposes of this report, but posts will go up here as we publish them (links open in new tabs):
Disney World Galaxy’s Edge Trip Report Part 1 — Introduction, Booking, and Arrival (you are here)
Booking This Trip
As soon as we heard Galaxy’s Edge was scheduled to open in Florida, we shot an email over to Lauren Quirk, our go-to Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Often, my go-to plan is just to grab value reservations ASAP.
In most cases, value hotels sell out first. I’d rather be stuck at All Star Movies at a reasonable price then locked into a deluxe resort I picked on a whim. I had Lauren book us five nights at Disney’s Pop Century Resort (link to review) and five nights at Disney’s All Star Movies Resort (link to review).
We picked Pop Century expecting the Skyliner to be open, though it now looks like this will likely not be the case unless there’s a surprise soft opening.
Once Annual Passholder discounts were announced, we made an upgrade to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (link to review) for the latter half of the trip. We’re expecting to keep incredibly busy the first half of the trip, and having a deluxe resort to relax and work at for the second half seemed smart.
Finally, we added a single night at the Walt Disney World Dolphin to allow us to walk over to Hollywood Studios for the first day of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Altogether, our bookings wound up:
Five Nights at Pop Century — $654.32 ($130 / night)
Five Nights at Wilderness Lodge — $1,587.64 ($318 / night)
One Night at Walt Disney World Dolphin — $336.44 ($336.44 / night)
The nice thing about a longer trip—particularly if you can get a value stay in there—is it often makes sense to book a late flight in so you aren’t “wasting” a day on travel. We were able to grab a roundtrip basic economy fare of $158.60 per person, arriving our first night into MCO at 10:40PM.
With one buffer day, we’ll get little sleep on night one and then fall asleep early in preparation for the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. And yes—we fly basic economy with a personal item only even on ten-night trips.
As we have Walt Disney World annual passes, we didn’t need ticket purchases. So the cost of this trip, ignoring the single night at the Dolphin that non-bloggers would not book, comes out to $2,559.16. Had we each gotten a ten-day ticket, with park hopper because why not, those would have cost $532.82 each from Undercover Tourist, for a total trip price of $3,634.80.
Travel And Arrival
Our travel day was quite smooth. We arrived early to O’Hare to have dinner at Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless. This is easily our favorite airport food, and we’ve visited a lot of airports.
Our flight arrived on time, and we deplaned at 11:04PM. Ten minutes later, we were at the Disney’s Magical Express check-in desk where…
We had Magic Band issues! At this point I’m just tired of reporting on my Magic Band issues. I filled out the Magical Express form and set up the reservation, I had a confirmation email, and still I couldn’t check in with my Magic Band.
The rest of the Magical Express experience was one of our fastest trips. We were on the bus at 11:18PM, departed at 11:22PM, and were at Pop Century (the second stop) at 11:55PM. 20 minutes later, we were in our room!
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.
Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
When it comes time to book we’ll help you find discount Disney World tickets. Decide whether you need a dining plan in our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans! And at 180 days out it's time to book those Disney World Advance Dining Reservations!
Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.
Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.